tv The Rachel Maddow Show MSNBC January 10, 2018 9:00pm-10:00pm PST
good night from msnbc headquarters here in new york. . all right. so these guys, whatever you think of them, it is undoubtedly true that these guys cannot catch a break. donald trump for president campaign chairman paul manafort and deputy campaign chairman rick gates. both are currently under federal indictment under multiple felony charges. lots of times they keep in jail. they are both essentially under house arrest. they've had to surrender their passports, some family members have had to surrender passport, they're wearing monitor device, they have to get permission from the court if they want to go
anywhere. their trial is set for may. they both have to put up millions to secure their bond, 10 million for manafort, 5 million for gates. manafort tried to sue the government to get them to drop the charge against them but to disempanel the special counsel robert mueller. he wasn't appointed properly. now, nobody thinks that lawsuit from manafort is going anywhere, and that raised the question of why he did it. why did manafort and his lawyers go through the time and expense of filing that lawsuit when it was nothing anybody was going to take seriously? it just really looked like a very desperate move. what's paul manafort feeling so desperate about? today paul manafort and rick gates got sued by a putin-linked russian oligarch they used to do business with. oleg deripaska.
they tried to do several big business deals together. at least one of those deals appears to have gone wrong. from what we can tell, it seems like deripaska gave manafort and his company many millions of dollars, 15 or 20 million dollars to try to buy a cable company in ukraine. they don't seem to have ever bought the cable company and deripaska seems to think that his money effort ins will went walkies, that it got sort of siphoned off at least in part by manafort and gates. deripaska sued manafort in 2014 to try to get the money back. one of the intriguing lines around paul manafort and his cash flow and why he wanted to run the trump campaign in the first place and his communication where he offered deripaska private briefings on the campaign and he e-mailed somebody else about whether or not the campaign was something
he could use to get whole when it came it deripaska. one of the intriguing question marks about all of that paul manafort stuff is that even though oleg deripaska sued paul manafort for $18 million, that 2014 lawsuit mysteriously went away with no evident resolution right around the time when donald trump started running for president and paul manafort started running his campaign. so that's -- i don't know what any of that means but it's always been a really interesting open question here. i mean, given paul manafort's extensive and somewhat secretive business dealings in the former soviet union and how that overland with his political work in the soviet union, was he trying to do the same thing here? was it something we he saw as overlapping somehow with his political work for donald trump?
don't know. but why did that lawsuit go away when paul manafort took the trump gig? we still don't know. but we do know that today that lawsuit came back. deripaska filing a lawsuit in new york state court today against manafort and gates. it seeks $25 million in punitive damages plus other compensatory damages as well. so while these guys from the trump campaign are on house arrest awaiting trial on multiple felony counts that have been brought against them by robert mueller's office, they are facing a new civil lawsuit in state court bought by a putin-connected russian billionaire oligarch, is trying to soak them for more money than they've probably seen in the past and will likely ever see in the future. and just to twist the knife harder, deripaska's complaint
makes clear that the source they're using to bring this in suit against manafort and gates is the manafort indictment. you remember remember all the pages and pages showing inflow and outflow and how he was like paying his landscapers and buying rugs and that was of sufficient gran you u lar detail become the basis for another potentially crippling civil case against those guys from the trump campaign. tough night for those guys. oleg deripaska -- it trips off the tong now, right? it was one of those names that was long and foreign and hard to remember but now for the first time to follow the events, you have to learn a lot of russian
names. a also names like gucifer 2.0. we all had to learn that as part of this campaign. something called d.c. leaks and then gugucifer 2.0. both wikileaks and guccifer were made to seemed like personalities, individual hackers. but that was a fairly thin disguised. the dni said that the u.s. intelligence community had assessed with high confidence that guccifer 2.0 was not an
individual or some small group of independent hackers, it was instead just created intelligence by the russian military. stone was giving the public advanced notice about forthcoming leaks that would be targeting john podesta. he was in touch with guccifer 2.0, which was russia military intelligence, and he was given numbers and he bragged about it. even though it was a made-up name, it wasn't a randomly generated false name.
guccifer -- the original guccifer. the original guccifer 1.0 was a name drawn up by this man. his name is marcel lazar. he used guccifer when he started hacking into famous accounts all over the world. colin powell, jim nantz, dorothy bush koch. but i think the first time we, the public, got to see them is because guccifer hacked into his
sister's personal e-mail account. that's how he first got them and that's how we all first saw them. what the hacker guccifer did went on for a while, 2012, 2013. he raes a leleased a lot of peo information personal, medical information. by publishing e-mail sent to hillary clinton, it was the guccifer hack that accidentally exposed that hillary clinton was using a private e-mail server and you know how that ended. >> the hacker got caught. what he did, that unauthorized access and stealing and redistributing data, that is illegal. the u.s. justice department went
after him. i think he was like a retired taxi driver or something. they got him in romania, brought him to the united states and they convicted him. in september of 2016 he was sent away to prison for more than four years. and as often is the case, they department of justice sends out a press release and this is the press release announcing that remaining hacker guccifer sentenced to 15 months in prison for computer hacking crimes. now, you can see who led that case. down there in the fine print says "senior counsel ryan k. dickey." a cyber crime specialist prosecutor from the department of justice. we have just learned that he has
a new gig. "washington post" reports today that he is the latest specialist the special counsel team operating under the leadership. in the post today, ryan dickey was not just added right now. it's reported he was actually brought on to mueller's team in november. this is just the first time anybody was able. >> first of all, for what it's worth, i think this means there are at least 17 prosecutors working on mueller's team now. number two, we know now that the very month the president's russia lawyer was publicly and not only was robert mueller not wrapping up the investigation in
november, he was still adding new prosecutors to his team at that time. and because what we know about ryan dickey's professional area of specialization and what he's an expert at, we at least can now ask before questions about where we know that rnc staffers were questioned last month, quo, about the party digital operation that worked with the trump campaign to target voters in key states that was according to michael isikoff. we also know from reporting this past fall that robert mueller on tiananmened significant data to
influence the 2016 vote, on american so long media, including facebook. we know that in part because of congress complaining that facebook gave more information to mueller than they gave to congress. >> so, we know that he's pursued all of those lines of kwirry, right? >> all of that. >> so given that he's been pursuing all that stuff and given the fact that the russian online interference in our election was known very, very none of the specialists working with him are thought to be cyber specialists. why did he wait so long to bring one on? and what caused him to bring one on last november of last year?
we don't know. but there and really nobody has had any idea what to do with it since we first found out about it. right before the election, late.com and. >> in the spring of 2016, a computer server that was part of the trump organization started communicating with unusual frequencies, almost exclusively with a server that was associated with a big russian bank called alpha bank. we have no idea what was going on with that communication between the trump server and the russianal bank. but we do know that they took the kj it was first in
slate.com -- in march 2017, the fbi still had the matter under investigation. federal investigators and computer scientists continue to examine whether there was a connection between the so if that report from cnn was accurate, that means the fbi looked into the ultra bank trump servers communications. they looked at it for month. they treated it as a counterintelligent issue and was likely still ongoing in the fbi when robert mueller was appointed special counsel to take over the entirety of the russia investigation just a couple of months later. now, as part of the controversies around those mysterious interactions between
the russian bank and the computer server, the russian bank hired american lawyers to look into this matter, which they were starting to get a lot of bad and weird press about, and basically to investigate it internally and to help convince anybody investigating the matter that it was just an innocuous communication, that there was nothing weird going on there. alpha bank wanted to get out ahead of those stories. well, one of the lawyers who alpha bank hired specifically to do that was a lawyer who had been working on the transition team, a guy named brian b benchowsky. very soon there after, trump named him to head the criminal
division at the department of justice. now that job is a really big deal at the department of justice. to put the guy who was defending the russian bank against the trump campaign collusion tries, that's a big thing. >> you're asked in private practice to look into whether this big russian bank owned by one of the top oligarchs in russia who was -- which has been accused, you've read the report by then, that there was interference by the russians into the trump campaign -- i
mean into the election and that there may have been collaboration with the trump campaign. you still would have done that, knowing that you were going to get this nomination -- >> if you're asking me the question, senator, would i do it differently now knowing that i would -- knowing in advance that i'd be nominated to head the criminal division? >> yeah. >> well, of course. >> well, that's what i asked you. >> why did it take so long for you to come up with the obvious answer? >> i apologize, senator. >> well, no, i really want to know that. i asked you a very easy question. knowing what you know now, would you have done it differently? and it took us a long time to get there. and that makes me wonder about your honesty. it does. it was a simple question.
and first you said you wouldn't have done it differently. then up say you would have done it differently. >> senator, again, i apologize. i didn't understand the premise of your question. if i misunderstood it, i apologize. i now understand you to be asking you with perfect sort of hindsight, would i do it differently? the answer is yes. i wouldn't have undertaken the representation had i known at the time that i was going to be a nominee to head the criminal division. >> yeah, obviously. it's a little weird that you would be running the criminal division of the justice department right after representing the russian bank accused of colluding with the trump campaign. right? at this particular time in our nation's governance and at this particular time in our nation's justice department. it would be weird. so because of what that guy did between the trump transition and getting nominated to run the justice department's criminal division, it didn't work when
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this show talking about the otherwise forgotten early scandal of the trump presidency when trump last march suddenly without warning fired all the u.s. attorneys as across the president. presidents get to replace all the u.s. attorneys if they want to but nobody did it the way trump did. none of them were given any warning or any time to plan for any transition. at least one u.s. attorney who was told he could definitely stay was instead just yanked without explanation. the strangeness and still unexplained rushed nature of that mass surprise firing was made all the more acute because the one u.s. attorney who had been told he could definitely stay in his jurisdiction was the prosecutor in the southern district of new york, manhattan, preet bharara, one of the most powerful u.s. attorney's office in the country, that jurisdiction includes every
major financial institution in the united states because so many banking transactions worldwide are routed through wall street in new york city. but for this administration it's particularly important because the southern district of new york, manhattan, is also where the president has spent his entire working life and where he headquarters his business. well, last week the administration made another sudden, no-warning move when it comes to federal prosecutors when all on one day they announced 17 new u.s. attorneys for districts all across the country, including that crucial district in the southern district of new york, which is so near and dear to the president's wallet -- i mean heart. questions were raised again about the timing, why this sudden move, why no notice. further questions and concerns have been raised by reports that indicate the president may have personally interviewed some of the candidates for u.s. attorney jobs before naming them, including the eventual nominee who he picked for the southern district of new york. well, now today, greg farrell,
"bloomberg news" reports the u.s. attorney that trump just appointed, isn't just a law partner for rudy giuliani, he also has a history of doing loan work for deutsche bank. he is t deutsche bank has frequently bailed out trump personally, even after he sued them and even after he was unable to repay earlier loans to them. deutsche bank made a $285 million loan one month before the election to jared kushner, which kushner did not report on his financial disclosure forms and they are also the subject of a money laundering enterprise.
so the idea that in trump's home district in manhattan, the federal office will be run by a lawyer who has done lots of legal work for deutsche bank, that's important news. two days after trump appointed this particular lawyer, that new u.s. interim attorney, two days after that guy picked him, that guy picked his new deputy. lots of prosecutors offices deputies roll over and stay on, it's sort of a permanent position. well, in this southern district of new york, he decided not to keep on the assistant. he announced he would be be bringing in his own deputy. his own deputy is the former general counsel of deutsche bank. so here's the last big piece of
news on this tonight. senator kirsten gillibrand had previously expressed concerns about this important appointment in this important prosecutor's office, based on the fact that trump met personally with and personally interviewed this prosecutor before giving him the job that could potentially have so much bearing on the president himself. tonight she will make her opposition to this nominee will use what's called the blue slip process to formally oppose the appointment of this u.s. attorney in manhattan. over the last few months republicans started to make noise that they might not respect the blue slip process anymore, they might not let hope state senators have a say anymore. but in this case, senator chuck grassley is the chairman and he said he quotes to intend the honor the blue slip courtesy. okay. if that's true and if you add to
that the weight from new york's other senator, democratic leader chuck schumer, who has reportedly told the white house that he also is not supportive of this crucial nominee, i think that means that even though democrats are in the minority and they don't control anything in washington, this is one case where they might actually stop what trump is trying to do. they might right now be stopping this nominee who trump is trying to install in his home jurisdiction, this guy with these close links to his biggest financial backer and very close links to one of his best friends. i'm not saying for sure that this thing is cooked but it looks like senator kirsten jill bra -- gillibrand may have shut this down. hey, the night is young. anything can happen. watch this space.
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bear, is the star of a swedish cartoon show. and this bamse, the bear, is now part of a national campaign in sweden to teach swedish kids how to spot fake news. i read it on the internet. you did? okay, well, have you verified the source? it may be we cannot stop the sustained intent of russia to disrupt democratic societies all over the west with fake tracking and fake news and bots, but some are trying to counter it. the dutch moved to start hand counting their votes, to head off hacking efforts that might try to interfere with the vote count. a multi-country european web site debunking disinformation, a really cute cartoon in sweden to teaches school kids to check what they read first.
they have been developing strategies to active try to stop russian attempts to mess with their democracies and mess with their populations. here in the united states, our top law official tells congress he has no particular ideas for protects elections here after the last one. he to-- flynn told russia not t worry about the sings but in by president obama. and started putting in plans to unilaterally roll back those sanctions against russia. a veto-proof majority in congress blocked that and walked that back. just yesterday we learned that a trump national security council appointee in the white house immediately after the inauguration proposed removing
all u.s. troops from countries on russia's border as a gesture to the kremlin. he reportedly proposed that in february. in the following month the same adviser proposed lifting all u.s. sanctions affecting the russian oil industry, which would definitely make vladimir putin very happy. no sanctions, no u.s. troops on his border. would you like us to mondamonog our white flag? our government is closing the sanctions office and thinking what else we might stuff into a goody bag for vladimir putin. today the top democrat on the foreign relations committee issued a 200-page report on what vladimir putin is doing in russia and what it means. there's been comparatively total
inaction by our own government in the u.s., down to not even spending the money congress said should be spent on countering kremlin disinformation. if you've seen any coverage about this new report today, the quote out of the report is that no president ever before has ignored a national security threat like this one. but i think having read the report, it worth noti -- it's w noting that not only is our president not leading us to do the things other countries are trying to do to put out the fire, in some ways our president has been pouring on gasoline and helping this thing burn. joining us is senator ben carden. he commissioned the report. it's really nice for you to be here tonight. thanks for your time. >> it's good for you to be here. >> you looked at 19 different countries and give case studies
with not only how russia has tried to interfere with a lot of the nations, you write about how other countries have come up with strategies to try to fend them off. do those things seem to you like things that could work in the united states that we should be stealing and adopting for our own use? >> absolutely. what we need is presidential leadership. we need a game plan to recognize that russia is trying to bring down or democratic institutions. after the 2016 elections, the european capitals all took steps to protect their election systems. we saw, for example, that in france they took actions recognizing that russia would be active in their campaign, and they were successful in blocking the impact of mr. putin's attempts in that election. we saw the same thing happen in germany. we saw where russia attempted a coup in montenegro in order to
block them from entering nato. those countries have taken steps to protect themselves because they recognize that russia is trying to bring down their democratic institutions. in the united states our president has not taken this seriously. he's basically said he's not even sure that russia was involved in our elections when we know for sure that they were. so we don't have the presidential leadership, we don't have a national game plan that recognizes the risk that russia presents to our national security. >> one of the things that i found distressing on just sort of an institutional level is you highlight the state department's global engagement center as a key part that congress has identified as a place, a resource within our government that could be very helpful, could be very useful in terms of combatting -- and you said congress identified that office, basically order that that office be used for that person, particularly given what russia
did in the 2016 election but then under president trump, despite those descriptions, they haven't done it. it makes me worry this isn't an unwillingness to recognize the scope of the problem. it seems like active defines. >> this problem has been identified by the congress and the senate. we've pointed out appropriate resources to protect us against these cyber attacks. we know mr. putin uses criminal elements to try to care ey out his designs. so we provided our woman the administration was very slow to even try to get that started and to this day they still have not fully engaged with the tools that have been provided by congress. so there has been -- i use the
term negligence. the president has been negligent in dealing with this problem. russia is trying to compromise our democratic institutions. it not just free elections. we want to bring down our way of government. they want corruption to. >> we've got to take action and this administration is not following through. >> senator, one last question for you on this. this is a comprehensive report, a 200-page report. it's from the committee on foreign relations, which means it's the kren, did you report others not working. >> very early in 2017 i made a decision based on the democratic members of the senate foreign
relations committee that the people had to understand what mr. putin is doing. it deals with an overall game plan to try to dominate democratic institutions in europe and in the united states. i did go over this with senator corker. it was our priority to get it started. we worked with the republicans on our committee throughout the year but we wanted to make sure that this report could be released in a timely wait. we believe the recommendations will be embased because of this was the priority that the cats brought in 2017. >> senator ben cardin, top democrat on the foreign relations committee. thank you for being here. i appreciate it.
that accurate? answer, to the best of my knowledge that's accurate. yes, exhibit 3 is a document produced to the committee by your lawyers. they explained this was a document originally posted by buzzfeed in january '17. is that what we were just discussing as the series of memos by buzzfeed and created by mr. steele? >> yes. >> does what does represent between june and october 2016? >> these are the memos that he created the engagement. to the best of my knowledge, as
part of this engagement, this is it. is there another engagement? might there be more trump russia memos other than what we saw in the dossier? that lines up with a little piece of reporting in the know, this week. and if you look 26 paragraphs down, i'm not kiting, in little traeki traeking mr. simpson's specific area of focus and information about any current benefactors, that information is closely guarded. the work has not stopped. fusion gps is still now secretarying trump and russia. the publication of the original
memos by buzz fooed, which -- you you know what, that night was the start of a whole new odyssey for buzz feed itself. since it's been fending of lawsuits of all kinds from all ieds. >> but editor in chief says he is proud of the dossier. that's next. t i don't need luck, i have skills... i don't have my keys. (on intercom) all hands. we are looking for the captain's keys again. they are on a silver carabiner. oh, this is bad. as long as people misplace their keys, you can count on geico saving folks money. fifteen minutes could save you fifteen percent or more on car insurance. ltry align probiotic.n your digestive system?
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joining us now is ben smith, the editor in chief of buzz feed. thank you for coming on and doing this. >> thank you for having me on. >> one year after you published the dossier. you talked in other venues about the internal process and decisions you had about whether or not to do this. i have some very specific questions about the dossier. >> i'm not sure if i have answers or not. >> it seems like there was an indication in the glen simpson transcript that maybe these things were out of order, maybe the way you guys published them in that 35-page stack was not the cron lon khronological orde. is that true? >> there are elements of the numbering that are not totally sequential and also things in the transcript where there's more reporting to be done on the extent of steele as a consulting
firm, it's what else he reported on. >> i don't understand what you mean by that. >> i just mean if you look at the pages of the dossier, the pages aren't all sequential. >> but you published everything that you had? >> yes. >> was the highlighting on it when you guys got it or was that buzz feed? >> i don't want to talk to anything that's anywhere near sources. >> to the even highlight as you and nobody would tell you that you kel come that this document was very, very much in the public interest, that -- and i think, you know, then it had been briefed to the president of the united states, top -- we
know even more now. when you th think about was that in public interest, i incredi y incredibly. >> with everybody projecting what must be in it. >> we heard a lot at the time that we absolutely should be kept secret. forever, i guess. a year later, i wouldn't hear anything else saying that. one of the transcripts released was this quote from glen -- i was really troubled to hear that. he, today, clarify he was just speculating.
in fact, there was who was found dead in a car. and i think there's been some slopping roaring linking those things but that doesn't make sense. >> obviously had you to weigh both legal risks and the ethical issue issues. >> you know, i think there was a very sharp and immediate backlash, from a kind of journalist gatekeeper. it stems back from a moment when the gates were broadcast towers and printing presses. you couldn't have information out. and so you had to make what are
the whole categories of information, particularly about pris dent that was part of the backlash. we really thought that was just clearly in the public interest, they should have published it. to see the initial backlash turn to knoll gart congratulations making it a year after this very difficult decision. >> thank you, rachel. >> we'll be right back. stay with us. can you drive me to jessica's house? uuughhh! ♪ this is what our version of financial planning looks like. tomorrow is important, but so is making the most of the house